- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Pia Sundhage stepped down as the United States national women’s soccer team in 2012 for the opportunity to coach her native Sweden.

Now, she’s facing questions about her status after Sweden failed to win a Women’s World Cup game with three preliminary-round ties, before being eliminated with a 4-1 loss to Germany in a Round of 16 on Saturday.

“Nothing at all,” Sundhage said, through an interpreter when asked about her future, with her contract running out next year. “Right now, I’m thinking about the team that is forced to return to Sweden, how we’re going to look after them.”

She also sidestepped a question when asked to assess her coaching performance on Saturday.

“Right now, I’m way too emotionally sad to analyze it at this point,” Sundhage said in English. “I don’t want to say anything that I regret later.”

The Swedes had the misfortune of being placed in the so-called Group of Death alongside the U.S., Australia and Nigeria. And then faced top-ranked Germany.

SOLO IN PEOPLE: Hope Solo spoke to People Magazine about the aftermath of her arrest last year on domestic violence-related charges, calling it “traumatic and embarrassing.”

Last June she was charged with two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault stemming from an altercation with her sister and 17-year-old nephew at a family gathering in Kirkland, Washington. A judge dismissed the charges earlier this year.

U.S. Soccer has been criticized for its handling of the situation, with some calling for Solo to be benched while the case played out.

Solo spoke to reporters at the Women’s World Cup following the U.S. team’s first match, a 3-1 victory over Australia. But she has not spoken since.

Just before the start of the World Cup, new details about the case and her arrest were reported by ESPN. The report reopened the controversy surrounding the goalkeeper, and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on U.S. Soccer to drop her from the squad.

The United States is preparing to face Colombia in the elimination stage of the World Cup on Monday at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

“I wish my name was cleared,” Solo told People. “But people still believe I hit a child.”

MERS OUTBREAK: South Korea coach Yoon Dukyeo is hoping that the team’s first-ever victory in the women’s World Cup helped the people back home take their minds off an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome that has killed 24 people and sickened more than 160 people in the country.

“We always listen to Korean news. We are aware of what’s happening there,” he said. “I know many people are having difficulties with this critical viral epidemic.”

South Korea finished 14th in its only other appearance in the World Cup finals, in 2003. But they tied Costa Rica and then beat Spain in the group stage finale on Wednesday to reach the knockout round.

“Even if that’s a small thing, I hope it was a bit of consolation for the Korean people,” said Yoon, whose team will play France in the round of 16 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday. “We don’t want to make those cheers go down the drain. We will make them count.”

Officials say the outbreak has already peaked and could be defused by the end of the month.

NO HOMER REFS: Switzerland coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is thrilled to face host nation Canada in the hostile confines of BC Place Stadium with a berth in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals on the line.

Even if it means some 50,000-plus fans are mostly sporting Maple Leafs on Sunday afternoon in Vancouver.

One thing she demands is fair officiating. Anna-Marie Keighley has drawn the referee assignment for the round of 16 match, and according to FIFA the 32-year-old from New Zealand has been an international referee since 2010.

“I hope the entire match will be decided fairly and objectively,” Voss-Tecklenburg said through an interpreter Saturday. “I place my trust into the experienced referee.”

LETTING SLIP: Though the Germans opponent in the quarterfinal has yet to be determined, coach Silvia Neid is fairly certain it’s going to be third-ranked France, which faces South Korea in a Round of 16 game at Montreal on Sunday.

“We will focus on a very important match ahead, probably France,” Neid said after a 4-1 win over Sweden.

A question later, Neid couched her response by noting it will “most likely be France or South Korea.”

Whomever the opponent will be, the quarterfinal will be played at Montreal on Friday.

WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY: No. 16 China survived with a 1-0 victory over No. 53 Cameroon, which was the lowest ranked team to make the knockout stage. Celia Sasic scored twice and top-ranked Germany earned a spot in the quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory over No. 5 Sweden.

UP NEXT: Host Canada, ranked No. 8, faces No. 19 Switzerland in front of what should be a big crowd at BC Place in Vancouver. On the other side of the country, Marta and No. 8 Brazil plays tenth-ranked Australia in Moncton, New Brunswick. Third-ranked France plays South Korea, tied for eighth with Canada, in Montreal.

___

AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen In Montreal, Janie McCauley in Vancouver and Anne M. Peterson in Edmonton continued to this report.

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